Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Final Cut

Please note: The following is posted for entirely personal and selfish reasons. I'm not going to explain what they are. Not one word of it has anything to do with sex. It doesn't fit with the "theme" of this blog. If any of that will bug you, don't read it.

For the same personal and selfish reasons, I am turning off comments on this post. It is what it is. It wasn't written to foster group discussion, to garner sympathy, or provide anyone with any personal gain except myself. If it happens that you get something out of it or relate to it on an personal level, that's cool, but that's not what it was put here for.

If you feel compelled to share something with me in relation to this, you can use the email address. However, I don't want to hear any potential solutions, negations, or expressions of concern or sympathy related anything I wrote below.
The only thing I'd really be interested in hearing is if any of it looks similar to the stuff you keep in your own "secret room." If it's anything else, please don't bother to write. Thanks.

...I don't really want to talk about it. If we go out drinking after work, if I end up spending the night with her, maybe I’ll say more, as we talk afterward, as a way to explain something about myself, why I'm the way I am…

I don’t know you at all
, she will say, a few months into our affair, but if you ever want to talk...and I’ll smile a skull’s smile and one by one the lights will go off inside me.
--Nick Flynn, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

What is to give light must endure the burning.
--Viktor E. Frankl


Things that are true about me


...all the time

Things that are not true about me


...but that I believe anyway

Every weapon you can use to wound me with

Things that I secretly believe render me unlovable

Things I don’t want you to know

Things I am ashamed of

The one room you'll never see

Everything ugly inside, now outside

In no particular order:

• I think I am inherently flawed and unlovable.

• At the same time, I’m incredibly narcissistic.

• My body is imperfect.
--I am fat
--I’m not pretty enough
--I am getting gray hair
--I am too hairy in general
--My skin is all wrong. It’s marked and scarred, but not in a sexy way—in ways I think everyone thinks are disgusting. When I was an adolescent, and not anywhere near pregnant, and a size 0, my skin gave me white stretch mark scars that will never go away, and now look like thin rivers embedded in the skin of my hips, stomach and breasts. And then to counterbalance, as an adult, my skin began to break out as if I were an adolescent.
--My breasts are big and have never defied gravity the way they’re “supposed” to
--No matter how skinny I’ve been, or how much I exercise, my stomach has never been totally flat.
--My feet are really big.

• I think too much.
Here’s how it will go. When you first meet me, I’ll tell you this; and you will tell me that’s impossible, that how intensely I think is what’s great about me. And then you will know me for a while, and then you will tell me I think too much, and that it’s bad and I should stop it. I won’t be able to. You won’t be able to keep up. If you manage to stick it out a little longer, you’ll get to see how I deliberately entrap myself with my own mind. You’ll see how I can deliberately trap you with it. You’ll hate it. You’ll probably grow to resent it. You’ll give up trying to “help” me with this. You’ll get tired and leave.

• I will verbally agree with you when you tell me that I think too much, and that this is a bad thing. But I won’t really agree with you. What I’ll really be confirming is you’re right to think there’s something—anything—wrong with me. But I won’t really think that thinking less is a good thing.

• I can’t accept a compliment graciously. Even when I pretend to, I don’t really believe it.

• Whenever someone tells me they like me, are fascinated by me, or love me, the first thing I think to myself is, “Just wait.” (Interpreted as, “Once you really know me, you’ll see.”) The second thing I think is, “What are they trying to get from me/get me to do by saying this?”

• I tell people I like them, am fascinated by them, or love them, and though it’s never completely a lie, it also somehow always feels like a lie, or that I mean it but only “to a point.” I say these things because I want to feel these things. And because I like how it makes the other person feel good. In other words, I’m saying it to get something from them. Generally affection. Sometimes other things.

• Therefore, I am selfish and manipulative.

• I’ve told people I was in love with them. But in truth, I have no idea what really being in love feels like.

• I worry I’m kind of dead inside.

• I can never fully give myself to anyone. Fear makes that impossible. I’ll only give you so much of myself, no matter how much I like you. I believe if I give you everything, it means you will use it to destroy me.

• I want to find someone who will push me to give everything to them and who won't destroy me afterwards. I'm too afraid to take the chance to find that person.

• In my public life, people tell me I seem completely together and almost intimidatingly competent. That’s because I’m terrified they’re going to hurt me or my feelings. I’d rather scare you away with my fake competence than take the chance you discover my real vulnerabilities.

• I secretly believe (suspect?) all men take at least some pleasure in hurting or manipulating women, particularly emotionally. I think it makes them feel powerful and sexy, even though they don’t like to admit it.

• I secretly believe no one—especially a man—can love (or even see) ME (whomever “me” is). At best, I think they can only love my love of them.

• I secretly believe all men think I am the “good enough” type one bides his time with until the “real” or "someone better" woman comes along.

• I am too selfless. I put everyone’s needs in front of my own. This may make you happy for a time. Then, you will find I am giving you so much of what you need that it will be overwhelming. You’ll never be able to match it in its intensity. This will make you feel guilty. It will eventually make you resent me, or just not want to deal with me.

• I am too selfish. I want everyone to give me too much of what I need. And even then, it won’t be enough. I’ll want more.

• I will resent you because you can’t match my level of giving. Even though I know it’s unfair.

• I think anything I do that is solely for me is bad and selfish.

• I’ll do things solely for me anyway.

• You can easily manipulate me and completely fuck with my head by telling me that my words or actions are hurting you, even if I know it’s irrational that you feel that way.

• I have an uncanny ability to intuit what you’re really thinking or feeling underneath what you’re saying or doing up front, without you telling me. Even when you don’t want me to know. This will bug the shit out of you. Sometimes I will tell you I know what’s going on. Sometimes I won’t, but will use it to my (or your) advantage, anyway.

• I’ll want you to intuit what I’m thinking even when I don’t tell you. I’ll know you can’t do that, but I’ll be disappointed and let down every time that you can’t.

• I’ll also think it means you don’t care to know.

• I will be able to tell when you’re lying most of the time. I will call you on it, question you on it. This may tempt you to lie to me just for the challenge of seeing if you can get away with it.

• I believe you will lie to me. I will always be on the lookout for when it will happen.

• Even though I will never say it, I secretly believe people lie to me not because there is anything inherently wrong with them, but because they think I’m not worth being honest to.

• I’m too proud to ask for help. I would rather suffer alone than ask for help. If I ask for help, I’m really, really far gone.

• I’m proud that I’d rather suffer alone than ask for help.

• I’m ashamed that I’m proud that I’d rather suffer alone than ask for help.

• If I hint around that I need help and you don’t pick up on it, I will think it means you don’t care about me. I won’t ever ask you again.

• I will never fully believe any compliment you give me, but I will want you to compliment me constantly anyway. I will fish for them in a way that makes me feel ashamed and disgusted with myself.

• I will fully believe any insult or criticism you ever say to me, big or small. I will pretend it didn’t hurt me, or that it didn’t matter. And it will hurt me and it will matter to me forever, and the rawness of its first sting will never decrease.

• I’m completely brimming over with love and emotion that I desperately want to give someone, but have no outlet for, and that I can't seem to let out even if an outlet shows up, for fear of overwhelming the person. It's a painful way to live.

• I’m terrified of being boring. I suspect I am.

• I’m terrified of being mainstream. I suspect I am.

• I’m terrified of being an untalented writer. I suspect I am.

• I’m terrified of being weak. I know I am.

• Even though I like solitude, I’m also terrified of being lonely. I fear this makes me come across as desperate.

• Because I’m terrified of being lonely, I keep people at bay so I don’t have to end up watching them abandon me.

• I’m certain I’ll always be alone.

• If you want me, and I like you, I will try to make you go away. Repeatedly. To see if you will come back. I don’t expect you will. If you do, I will be pleased for a spell, and then will get insecure again and will try to test you again. I have absolutely no idea how long it would take for me to feel there were enough tests. No one’s ever stuck around long enough to find out.

• I’m terrified of being manipulated by people.

• I was too stupid to understand that I was being sexually assaulted when it happened.

• I have had an STD.

• I think I’m beautiful, and that makes me ashamed of myself.

• I also think that I’m the only one who can see, or who will ever see, that I’m beautiful.

• I believe anyone who tells me I'm beautiful has an agenda.

• I deliberately uglify myself so no one will see me. And so I don't have to feel like someone's only paying attention to me because of only my looks or my body. And so that I can continue to confirm for myself that I truly am disgusting and unlovable. I may even be using this post right now to do this.

• I think any positive statement I make about myself in public, even if actually true, will be perceived as arrogance.

• I have not had sex with another person for somewhere around three years. This started out as a self-imposed choice. Now I don't know if it's still because it's my choice or because no one would want to ask me.

• But I have had phone sex occasionally in the past three years. Some of it with complete strangers, some of it with an ex-boyfriend who I know I won't get emotionally attached to again. I know that's probably not constructive. But I've done it, anyway. (See next item.)

• I am attracted to (I deliberately choose?) men who will leave me, cheat on me, or who can’t fully be there for me, whether emotionally, geographically, or both.

• I find men who are completely, overwhelmingly into me to be frightening, stalkerish, unattractive, and/or clearly lacking in judgment. (As in, I would never be a member of a club who would have me. As in, if you really like me, there must be something wrong with you.)

• I choose men who are unmotivated or emotional pushovers because I’m afraid of being controlled.

• What I really, really crave is someone powerful who can take control, who can call me out, and who is smart enough to see through my bullshit and diversionary tactics so that I am forced to break down and surrender myself in trust. Someone who has the power to break me, but chooses not to anyway. I’m dying for this person. I’m also terrified of this person.

• I’m jealous and needy. Not in the “I want to know where you are every minute of the day” way, or the “you can’t have any other friends” way. In the “I want you to tell me I’m the one you like best and I want you to show and tell me that constantly” way.

• Obviously, re the above, I’m totally insecure and often feel out of control of my emotions in relationships.

• Whereas, I’m rarely insecure or out of control of my emotions when I’m alone.

• Therefore, I choose to go through long stretches of “recuperative” aloneness.

• They never feel particularly recuperative.

• In the words of another woman of around my age: “I was punk; now I’m just stupid. I’m so awful.”

• I was born with a particular talent that I’m letting rot and go to waste because I’m too afraid to use it and fail.

• A good majority of the time, I feel like I’m playacting. Or faking somehow. Saying what I know people need to hear. Taking on roles and responsibilities that will make others feel comfortable, while I feel completely detached from them.

• I care way too much about what other people think about me.

• I can only judge my relevance or importance in the world based on how I affect other people, or what other people think about me.

• Other people’s responses dictate my actions and behaviors, rather than my own needs or any true sense of self.

• I’m not sure I have any true sense of self.

• I think you knowing these things will be the end of you wanting to know me.

• I'm terrified that maybe these things are all I am, or all I ever will be.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Update: When this post was first written, I had faulty information and mistakenly attributed the second opening quote to the wrong person. It's been corrected now. Sorry about that.